AWG Correspondent

Zerba Cellars Photos

Zerba Cellars Review

Regions: Columbia Valley AVA, Walla Walla Valley AVA, Oregon

Reviewed: March 17, 2013 by
Published: March 23, 2013

WinePress Northwest’s winery of the year in 2011

Place:  Zerba Cellars is a family-owned, estate winery located on west side of Highway 11 in Milton-Freewater, Oregon. Zerba Cellars is located within the portion of the Walla Walla Viticulture Area (AVA) that extends across the border into Oregon. The tasting room is a small log structure located off the highway and brings back a feel for an earlier era when life was a bit simpler. In addition to wine sales, there is the usual logo wear and wine accessories. You will find some “Zebra” themed items including wine labels due to the fact that customers had a difficult time remembering they were Zerbas and not “Zebras”, but being the good-natured folks they appear to be, they decided to run with it and it seem that it has worked well for them.

Experience:  Visitors are greeted by the owner’s two Australian Sheep Dogs “Ranch” and “Millie” who have developed their own fan base by entertaining guests with their tricks, which they are eager to perform for a treat provided by the owners. Marilyn Zerba, Owner/Manager of Zerba Cellars was present to not only guide us through the tasting experience, but also presented us with some handy tips such as how to use warm water to loosen the wax on the cork and how to use your hand to cover your glass while swirling to bring out the aroma with a slight cupping at the finish of the swirl.

The Wines:   Zerba Cellars produces 7,500 cases of wine a year. Ninety percent of the wine comes from the three family-owned vineyards. This small estate winery produces an amazing 31 varietals. Along with the standard Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay, and Riesling that you would expect to find, venture out and try a Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Roussane, or a Sangiovese Rose. There are also three dessert wines for your tasting pleasure. We also sampled a 2009 Syrah from sister winery Bowlus Hills. Zerba Cellars carries four Bowlus Hills wines. What they lack in room they definitely make up for in opportunities to try some less common varietals which makes for a top rated experience.

Extras:   While the tasting room is quite small and located near a busy highway, the cabin is surrounded by a covered porch with additional seating overlooking the vineyards. They have a friendly staff that engages visitors in the tasting experience and encourages questions. Their Estate vineyards are certified sustainable by LIVE (Low Input Viticulture and Enology), IOBC (International Organization for Biological Control), and Salmon Safe. They are also members of VINEA - the Walla Walla Winegrowers Sustainable Trust.

Insider Tips:  If you have been thinking about venturing out and trying some new varietals and are more comfortable with quaint tasting rooms, this is a good bet. Prices range from $18.00 per bottle to $50.00 per bottle for the reserve wines. They offer reduced club prices per bottle.

Address & Contact Information: 85530 Highway 11 Milton Freewater, Oregon 97862. Telephone: 541-938-9463, email:, website: Tasting Hours: 10:00-5:00.

Overall Rating:  

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